Rotating ring of complex organic molecules found around newborn star + Rocket engine

C C Offline
Rotating ring of complex organic molecules discovered around newborn star

RELEASE: Astronomers have long known that organic molecules form in diffuse gas clouds floating between stars. It is thought that as the Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago, some of these organic molecules were transported from interstellar space to the planet forming disk. Later, these molecules played important roles in the chemical evolution resulting in the emergence of life on the Earth. However, it is still unknown what kinds and quantities of organic molecules were actually supplied from interstellar space. Although radio astronomy observations during the last decade showed that saturated complex organic molecules, such as methanol (CH3OH) and methyl formate (HCOOCH3) [1], exist around Solar-type protostars, their distributions were too compact to be resolved with the radio telescopes available at the time.

With ALMA, an international team lead by Yoko Oya, a graduate student of Department of Physics, The University of Tokyo, and Nami Sakai, an associate chief scientist of RIKEN, studied the distribution of various organic molecules around a Solar-type protostar IRAS 16293-2422A at a high spatial resolution. They discovered a ring structure of complex organic molecules around the protostar. The radius of the ring is 50 times wider than the Earth's orbit. This size is comparable to the size of the Solar System, and the ring structure most likely represents the boundary region between infalling gas and a rotating disk structure around the protostar.

The observations clearly showed the distribution of large organic molecules methyl formate (HCOOCH3) and carbonyl sulfide (OCS). Apparently the distribution of methyl formate is confined in a more compact area around the protostar than the OCS distribution, which mainly traces the infalling gas. "When we measured the motion of the gas containing methyl formate by using the Doppler effect," said Oya "we found a clear rotation motion specific to the ring structure." In this way, they identified the rotating ring structure of methyl formate, although it is not resolved spatially. A similar ring structure is also found for methanol.

These saturated organic molecules are formed in interstellar space and are preserved on the surfaces of dust grains. Around the outer boundary of the disk structure, they evaporate due to shock generated by collisions of the disk and infalling material, and/or due to heating by the light from the baby star. This result is the first direct evidence that interstellar organic materials are indeed fed into the rotating disk structure that eventually forms a planetary system.

In 2014, the team found a similar ring structure of SO (sulfur monoxide) around another Solar-type protostar L1527. In this source, unsaturated complex organic molecules such as CCH and cyclic-C3H2 are very abundant in the infalling gas, while SO preferentially exists in the boundary between the infalling gas and the disk structure. Although the physical structure in L1527 is similar to that found in IRAS 16293-2422A, the chemical composition is much different. Saturated complex organic molecules are almost completely absent in L1527. The present result, taken together with previous results on L1527, clearly demonstrates for the first time that the materials delivered to a planetary system differ from star to star. A new perspective on chemical composition is thus indispensable for a thorough understanding of the origin of the Solar System and the origin of life on the Earth...

Sick Burn! NASA Fires Off Test of Next-Generation Rocket Engine

EXCERPT: Thousands of onlookers gawked as a column of flame exploded across the desert floor outside Promontory, Utah, today (June 28) during a test of the engine that will help power NASA's next-generation rocket. Lying horizontally, the engine for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket booster released a massive blast of flame and a wall of black smoke for two solid minutes during today's Qualification Motor-2 (QM-2) test (see photos of the test here). This is the last engine test before NASA's Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) in 2018, in which SLS will send an uncrewed Orion capsule on a flight beyond the orbit of the moon and back to Earth. Eventually, NASA aims to use Orion and SLS to send humans to Mars....
Yazata Offline
The solid rocket booster tested in the Utah desert is the largest of its kind ever made. It's bigger than the solids that were on the Space Shuttle (which were manufactured by the same people).

Good article from . Though I have a quibble. It wasn't exactly Orbital ATK that made this solid rocket motor. Orbital was bought by Northrop Grumman in 2018 and now it's Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. Same facilities and engineers though.

I'm kind of surprised that 10,000 people turned out to see it. (Especially given covid and all that.) I've been in Promontory UT and it's certifiably the middle of nowhere. (Hence good for testing rockets.) The only place of any size for many hundreds of miles is Salt Lake City and its neighbors like Ogden.

Promontory UT is famous as the place where they drove the Golden Spike to complete the transcontinental railroad back in 1869. (100 years before the first Moon landing.) Good to see that it's still at the cutting edge of transportation.

[Image: 800px-East_west_shaking_hands_by_russell.jpg]

[Image: 800px-East_west_shaking_hands_by_russell.jpg]

C C Offline
(Nov 19, 2020 04:56 AM)Yazata Wrote: [...] Promontory UT is famous as the place where they drove the Golden Spike to complete the transcontinental railroad back in 1869. (100 years before the first Moon landing.) Good to see that it's still at the cutting edge of transportation.

I'll never fathom how even the men back then could stand to wear that many layers of clothing when it was hot. Regular bathing was perhaps becoming more common at the time than once portrayed, but still seems dubious for the frontier life and working poor. Days of intense sweating underneath such must have caused people to reek exuberantly.

OTOH, rebels of today who go weeks/months without a shower testify that it's the cleansing agents (remnants or something left on the skin) that generate the stench in cooperative conjunction with bacteria. But the immense popularity of perfumed substances, and beeswax to hide disturbances and eruptions on the face, hint of a malodorous aura surrounding human bodies at the time.

Electric motors existed in early stages, but not a widespread commercial product yet, and especially no household power source to run a fan. Of course, wouldn't do a bit of good for keeping railroad track-laying labor cool, out there in the elements.

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